Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Few Thoughts: My Conversion to Digital Books

My husband is a statistician and data analyst and apparently his work is really rubbing off on me because when I told him how many books I had read in 2015 the conversation quickly escalated to an examination of not only the number of books I had read but also the type, the format, and the trends over the course of the last few years.

One story the data tells is that of my conversion to digital books and my growing love for my e-reader.

Being the nerds that we are, we decided to make some graphs. I've been recording all the books I read on Goodreads since 2008, so we compiled the data from there. Below you can see not only how the number of books I've read per year has gone up and down over the years, but also how the number of e-books I read has grown dramatically.

Books Read by Media Type

Looking at this graph is really interesting for me because I know what was happening in my life during these years and how it impacted the number of books that I read and the format in which I read them.

In 2011, for example, I finished graduated school, and I guess one of the rewards I gave myself was the permission to read a lot more.

Looking at 2012, you may think that that must be the year I got my e-reader, but that's not actually the case. In February of 2012 my second baby was born, and the drop in the number of books I read that year, as well as the number of e-books I read, can be explained by his birth. The first is obvious, I didn't read as many books as I had in 2011 because I was tired. Babies will do that to you. The rise in e-books is a little less intuitive. I read so many e-books in 2012 because every time I fed my son I would read a book on my iPod Touch. It was so small and easy to hold while nursing a baby that I ended up basically putting paper books aside in favor of the digital. (As an interesting aside, my first son was born in 2009 and I read the exact same number of books that year as I did in 2012. Weird.)

Percentage of Media Type

The interesting thing is that after 2012 I never really went back to paper. My husband gave me a Kindle, which is way better for reading than my iPod or phone ever was. Also, I started reviewing more books for this blog and most of the review copies I read are digital. At this point, I feel like I'm fully converted to digital. If you had told me this would be the case in 2008 I would have said, "no way." Back then I was all about the physical book. Now I have fully embraced the benefits of an e-reader.

Five Reasons Why I Love My Kindle (in no particular order) 

I read faster on my e-reader. 
Or, maybe it's just that my e-reader entices me to read more. I love that most books tell me how many minutes I have left in a chapter. When I get to the next chapter and see that it's only going to take me 5 more minutes to read it I think, "Sure, I can read for 5 more minutes." That, of course, will often turn into 20 more minutes as I come to chapter after chapter that only will take 5 minutes to read.  
I can read at night without disturbing my husband.
Before I got my Kindle I used to have to keep my bedside light on to read. When my husband would go to sleep, I would feel bad about keeping the light on because I can't sleep with a light on, and even though he obviously can, I still thought that I was probably disturbing him. Now, if I'm not ready to go to bed yet, I can keep reading even after all the lights are off. (Yes, I know that using electronic devices before bedtime is terrible for sleep. I have a Kindle Paperwhite, and not only is it really easy on the eyes, but I also keep it really dim at night, so I feel okay about it.)  
The Kindle is great for traveling.
Even before I got my Kindle I would often buy or check out a couple of digital books to read while traveling. A couple of years ago we went to visit my in-laws in California, and I got the flu. You can bet that I was very glad to have so many books on my Kindle (And a great variety--what if I had only brought weighty classics? My flu-addled brain could never have handled that.) while I hung out in bed for a few days.

The Kindle is so much easier on my wrists.
I read for long stretches of time and holding open a hardback book for hours on end is a killer on my wrists. I was recently reading a book that I picked up from the library. It was a very new, very stiff book, and while I loved the story, I kept having to put it down because my wrists hurt from holding it open. 
Reading more on the Kindle means fewer physical books. 
After moving several times in the last few years, my desire to have a big library has decreased dramatically. Also, I'm just not much of a rereader. Most of the physical books that I have on my shelves now are either absolute favorites or signed by the author (or signed absolute favorites).


I still read a fair number of paper books every year, but now if you asked me what book I'd take to a deserted island, I'd cheat and say my Kindle and a solar battery charger. Surely the 200 books on my Kindle could keep me busy until I could be rescued.

Any other e-book fans out there? I feel like the book blogger, bookstagram, booktuber world is full of people who love physical books. But surely I'm not the only one who doesn't want shelves that are bursting at the seams?


  1. I'm slowly converting over to digital, as well, and like you I never thought that would be the case. I think I'm still probably about half-and-half digital and paper. Reading in bed without disturbing my husband has been a big thing for me too! As has traveling with it, not that you mention it. I've got the Kindle app on my phone, and it's so convenient to always have multiple books on hand--I've always got my phone with me! I also like that when I check out an ebook, I never have to return it to the library or get a late just goes away all on its own.

    1. Yes! The library returns (and checkouts) are a huge benefit. I love not having to actually go to the library to checkout or return a book.

  2. I also have lots of books on my shelf and I haven't read them until now. I'm more into reading ebooks and we have the same reasons! And it's more convenient for me to read anywhere, anytime with a lot of choices, if I'm going to use/read ebooks. I dont have a kindle and I read using my mobile phone.

    1. Having a lot of choices is the best. And reading anywhere and anytime is really worth a lot, isn't it?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...